The nurse as agent for care in an offshore environment: a descriptive-exploratory study



Daniel Del Campo Correa1, Marilda Andrade1

1Federal Fluminense University


Introduction: Nursing in an offshore environment should not mean the loss of the concept of care, and all the implications that such an approach has in the area of health, especially for the profession of nursing. Aim: To analyze the daily process of nursing in an offshore environment. Method: this involves a descriptive and exploratory research using a qualitative approach. The research subjects are nurses working in an offshore environment in Brazil. Data collection will be done through interviews using semi-structured questionnaires. The data will be analyzed in the light of the dialectical hermeneutic method.
Keywords: Working Environment; Nursing Care; Workflow.



The work process related to nursing in offshore areas must not lose the concept of care and all the implications that such a concept occupies in the area of health, especially with regard to the profession of nursing. Thus, we think that health care starts before the interaction involved in providing such care. Therefore, it is necessary to reflect the influence of the Cartesian paradigm of thinking and ways of being and doing in terms of health professionals, especially in work contexts in which the human body is considered a machine that can be analyzed in terms of its parts and in terms of its malfunctioning, and is reduced to simple substitution, i.e. the treatment of the disease. This fact leads us to reflect on new and challenging work scenarios that present themselves through a change in demand in the labor market, given that nursing staff have been prepared to operate in these new environments, many of them very specific. For this, the offshore area can be thought of as one of those new environments.  It can also be understood as a alive work in act, consisting of fixed actions and flows.
The fixed actions are related to the system of objects that make up the landscape of a place. The flows comprise the circulation and exchange systems, both material and non-material, that give life to the environment under consideration(1). We have to recognize and understand these new flows and fixed actions, which differ from the environments in which nurses have become accustomed to operating since their nurse training. It is also important to consider that the offshore environment can be understood as a complete institution, since a large number of individuals exist in similar situations.  It is separated by a considerable period of time, from the wider society, and leads a life which is closed and formally administered(2).
The purpose in developing this theme arises from concerns arising from the author's professional experience of acting in an offshore area as a supervisor of the health department of a maritime unit – a ship or an oil platform. Nursing offshore, as it is known, has developed in recent years as a result of the introduction of professional legal requirements.  However, these are still poorly mapped and little discussed in relation to scientific productions. In addition, there is still a gap with regard to discussions of nursing offshore as well as the working processes which have been established in this area. The experience of having worked in the offshore area associated with the Master’s Degree of Science in Health Care directed the questions that the author had, which led to the development of the theme.



The aims underpinning the thinking for the construction of a research project that seeks answers to the new technological work in which the nurse operates are:
General Aim: To analyze the nursing process in the daily offshore environment.
Specific Aim: To describe the dynamics of nursing developed by nurses in an offshore environment and to identify the difficulties and opportunities in terms of nursing in an offshore environment.



The research is ongoing and of a descriptive type(3). It is exploratory, adopting a qualitative approach. The research subjects are nurses working in an offshore environment in Brazil. Data collection will be done through interviews helped by a semi-structured questionnaire.  These will occur after the subjects have signed a consent form as recommended by Resolution No. 196/96 National Health. After data collection, the data will be analyzed in the light the dialectic hermeneutics method.



It is expected that all representations of the ideas expressed by the subjects will contribute to the epistemological construction of nursing care needs and its relationship with the work process in the offshore environment. This, therefore, means that all agents involved in this new interdisciplinary process will require the creation of action plans that will promote greater consensus for the improvement of health conditions, and innovative ways to promote it, considering all aspects of the work process and the determinants of health and disease in the offshore environment.



1. Santos M. O Espaço do Cidadão. 7ª ed. São Paulo: Editora da Universidade de São Paulo; 2007.

2. Goffman E. Manicômios, Prisões e Conventos. 8ª Ed. São Paulo: Perspectiva; 2008.

3. Lima D. Desenhos de pesquisa: uma contribuição para autores. Online Braz J of Nursing [ serial in the Internet ]. 2011 oct [ cited 2012 oct 11 ] 10(2). Available from:



Daniel Del Campo Corrêa – Student Master Degree of the Stricto Sensu Postgraduate Program, Master Degree in Sciences of Healthcare, Aurora de Afonso Costa Nursing School, Federal Fluminense University, Research´s Author.
Marilda Andrade – Doctor in Nursing, Associated Professor of the Aurora de Afonso Costa Nursing School, Federal Fluminense University, Supervisor of the Research.


Receveid: 17/10/2012
Approved: 18/10/2012